EVERETT — After six months, finally, they were home.
The crew of the USS Kidd was greeted by several hundred cheering people Sunday morning, many of whom waved red-and-white pom-poms and held homemade welcome home signs as the ship came into port.
Jennifer Misner, of Everett, was there to greet her husband, Zach Misner. She said she was pretty confident her daughter, Samantha, who is almost 2, would recognize her dad, despite the long separation.
He recorded a reading of a book for her while aboard the ship. “We talked about Daddy a lot,” she said, and often showed her daughter pictures of her dad.
Little wonder that the welcome home sign she made for Samantha said: “Outta my way I get my Daddy back today.”
The USS Kidd was one of two guided-missile destroyers that returned to Everett on Sunday. The USS Shoup was the first to arrive. Both had 300-member crews. The ships were part of a strike group that left in June that also included an aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz.
The ships sailed more than 78,000 miles and carrier aircraft flew 1,322 combat sorties into Iraq and Syria.
Over the six-month deployment, they visited ports in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Chennai, India; Manama, Bahrain; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Hamad, Qatar; Duqm, Oman; Pattaya, Thailand; and Sasebo, Japan.
As the USS Shoup approached Washington on Saturday night, Lt. j.g. Jerick Sablan said in an email that the crew was treated to a Mongolian dinner to celebrate the pending completion of their deployment.
“The feelings of nervousness and excitement are floating around the ship as sailors get closer to seeing their families that they haven’t seen in six months,” he said.
Sierra Barth, 26, from Allyn in Mason County, was part of the crowd waiting on the pier as the USS Kidd approached. She was there to greet her husband, Jason Barth.
The couple learned she was pregnant with their first baby two weeks after the ship left in June. “Everyone on board was happy for him,” she said.
Tonia and Marcus Wilson, of Phenix City, Alabama, took a flight to greet their son, Jared Wilson, who has been in the Navy for four years.
“It’s exciting to see the ship come in,” she said.
Brandye Norman excitedly pointed as she spotted her son, Brandon Norman, 23, near the front of the ship. She and her husband, Richard Norman, of Paradise, Texas, flew in to welcome him home from his first deployment.
Jenna Cafeu, of Hansville, patiently tried to tend to her three children, Cooper, 2 months old, Codie, 4, and Luke, 2, as the USS Kidd slowly approached the pier.
She was told Saturday night that her husband had won the right to be first off the ship for the ceremonial first kiss.
Cooper and her daughter, Codie, were both born while their Dad was on deployments, she said.
While a Navy band played “Anchors Aweigh,” a cheer went up as the walkway, or brow, was connected to the ship — the final step before the crew could disembark.
Taylor Fossum, 8, and her mother, Michelle Fossum, of Yelm, had kept in touch with her brother, Greg Hudik, 27, the ship’s repair officer, on FaceTime.
Taylor grinned in anticipation of seeing her uncle, as she held a handmade sign: “Welcome Home Funcle Greg.”
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; firstname.lastname@example.org.